University Hospital launches state-of-art mobile mammography bus

Cutting-edge mobile cancer screening vehicle aims to address preventative care gaps in Newark

University Hospital in Newark recently announced the launch of a new $1.2 million state-of-the-art mammography bus, which will continue the hospital’s efforts to bring health care services directly to the people it serves.

The bus, which aims to serve underserved women, is equipped with cutting-edge breast imaging technology, a bilingual care team and a private examination room. A clinician team onboard is dedicated to enhancing access to crucial screenings and reducing the incidence of late-stage disease within the community.

The interior of the bus.

Through this upgrade, University Hospital aims to bridge critical health care gaps for women throughout Essex County, where the incidence of late-stage breast cancer diagnoses remains alarmingly high. The newly unveiled mobile unit is a substantial upgrade, replacing the original bus that served the community for over 15 years.

University Hospital CEO Ed Jimenez praised the effort over the years and hopes to continue combating the challenges of this issue.

“We recognize the numerous challenges our community faces in accessing preventative care,” he said. “With the introduction of this new unit, complete with a dedicated care team and 3D mammography capabilities, we aspire to reach more individuals and ultimately save more lives.”

Earlier this year, University Hospital unveiled its commitment to increasing breast cancer screening rates by 20% for community members at higher risk. The mobile mammography bus represents the latest stride in the hospital’s ongoing mission to tackle persistent breast cancer disparities in Newark.

As a safety-net institution, University Hospital frequently encounters patients seeking treatment for breast cancer at advanced stages. According to the American Cancer Society, the survival rate drops significantly from 99% for early, localized disease to just 24% for late-stage, distant disease.

Katrina Schirmacher, the executive director of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey at University Hospital, said the program has had great impact since its inception.

Some of the bus’s equipment.

“University Hospital and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School have collectively screened over 27,500 medically underserved women,’” she said. “The new bus is poised to strengthen our outreach efforts, connecting with more residents for preventative screenings and offering additional services to our community members.”

The project is benefiting from a $500,000 investment from the Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation and $400,000 grant from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey.

Connie Dwyer, the founder of the Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation, said her group is happy to help.

“The importance of the mobile mammography bus cannot be overstated,” she said. “We are proud to have worked closely with University Hospital on this initiative and to build upon the success of our past collaborations. This initiative reflects our foundation’s mission to enhance access to quality breast cancer screenings among vulnerable women.

“We hope to see this program make a lasting impact on the lives of women in Newark, contributing to a healthier and more equitable future for all.”